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Flood Mitigation

We consider the safety of our residents a top priority. The Engineering team runs annual projects to mitigate risks that are both naturally occurring, and manmade. Some of these projects are strictly monitoring work, like river monitoring during river breakup season, and some require active construction to combat risks, such as erosion control and slope stability projects and our Flood Mitigation Program.

The RMWB Flood Mitigation Program is reducing the risk of flooding and reducing potential damage that could result from a flood.

Flood Types                                                          


Ice Jam Flood 


Open Water Flood

 Ice Jam Flood Open Water Flood 


The Lower Townsite, Waterways and Ptarmigan Court areas of Fort McMurray have a long history of flooding. There have been at least 15 notable floods since 1835, 14 of which were ice jam floods.

Flood Elevation

After the 2016 Horse River Wildfire there was some uncertainty as to what flood elevation would be applied to the rebuild.  The Government of Alberta confirmed that the minimum flood elevation should be the 1:100 year elevation of 250 metres, with 0.5 metres of additional height or “freeboard”. 

Flood Mitigation Study

In December 2016, Council directed Administration to commission a study to confirm the performance of structural barriers in ice jam flood situations.  Based on the outcome of the study, berms, retaining walls, and berm/retaining wall combinations were the recommended options for mitigation. 

The municipal Flood Mitigation Program uses a design elevation of 250.5 metres (including 0.5 m freeboard) as per the Province’s recommendation, and divides the Lower Townsite, Waterways and Ptarmigan Court areas of Fort McMurray into separate sections, or Reaches. 


Reach-by-Reach Map

Reach by Reach Map

Reach-by-Reach Recommendations & Timeline



Status and Recommendations



along the Snye

berm built to 250 m; may provide 0.5 m wall

In progress


Borealis Park

built to 250.5 m



section of Clearwater Drive

built to 250.5 m



section of Clearwater Drive

constructed to 250.5 m



Riedel Street/Riverwalk Villas

recommended to revisit alignment, possibly incorporating retaining walls

Design dependent on Reach 6


section of Clearwater Drive

road elevation of 248.5 m; flood mitigation being considered as part of road improvement planning

Detailed design in 2020


Longboat Landing (Franklin Avenue)

berm is recommended

Construction in 2020


Confluence of Hangingstone Clearwater rivers

may be subject to minor alignment

Pending land acquisition


Heritage Park/Keyano College

Majority of alignment is at elevations of 248 m – 249 m; berm recommended in conjunction

Construction in 2020

To avoid confusion Reach 10 has been divided into three sections:


located on the north side of Saline Creek Parkway

Saline Creek Parkway was built to a nominal elevation of 248.5 m, although it is higher towards the Saline Creek bridge; recommend a combination of berms and an extension of existing retaining wall

Construction in 2020

10 J

Howard Pew along the east bank of Saline Creek

Berm is recommended; Alignment may be revised to move further away from Saline Creek, and make use of existing high ground along McCormick Drive

Construction in 2020

10 PC

wrapping around Ptarmigan Court

the most complex, as it is a constrained space for construction

Conceptual options under development



berm is recommended

Construction in 2020

To view information about projects under construction in your community view www.rmwb.ca/constructionmap.  
For more information about the Flood Mitigation Program or to connect directly with a member of the project team, please contact PULSE at www.rmwb.ca/pulse or 780.743.7000.

FLOOD RECOVERY: Information and resources